Working from home: What your company needs to do to ensure a smooth process 

Johannesburg – Many organisations are reporting a significant boost in productivity, as well as a host of other benefits, as their employees continue to work remotely.

According to Unilever Group CEO, Alan Jope, the company has seen a 41% increase in overall productivity in addition to a 20% increase in internal collaboration since their employees started working from home.

The trend is expected to continue with many companies adopting a blended or rotational work model where employees will work for two or three days per week in the office.

These companies are also experiencing an increased reliance on teleconferencing and other forms of technology and collaborative tools, which means that the need for remote services, support and maintenance has not only become crucial but will remain vital for months to come.

This means that organisations must ensure that they engage with the right technology partner to provide communication and collaboration solutions as well as ongoing remote support for their infrastructure, as these companies no longer just have centralised offices, but remote locations where their distributed workforce is situated.

The Critical Point – Endpoint Resurgence

Due to the Work-From-Home (WFH) phenomenon, we are seeing a huge uptake of endpoint devices, as employees need to be equipped with the required tools to work remotely. As a result, some hardware manufacturers and distributors are seeing record sales of laptops.

Organisations now need to look after their endpoints and ensure that they can connect a remote worker with the rest of the distributed workforce in a seamless manner, from shared applications to shared drives.

Intelligent tools

This has given rise to the requirement for remote support. A suitable technology partner can support its customers with tools that have Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) that can be leveraged when a device generates an alert or notable event

Smarter remote support solutions can perform self-healing tasks when issues are detected. An ICT partner that is geared for remote support can review the issue before accessing the device remotely before deploying technical resources to site. The remote support approach has been around for some time However in recent months the global pandemic has accelerated its adoption in leaps and bounds due to social distancing and safety protocols.

A notable advantage of remote support is that it does not require physical access to the hardware, which was a key requirement during the lockdown. At the same time, onsite support is also more costly than remote services.

That said, not everything can be fixed remotely, so some things will always require onsite support. In this case, it is key for a technology provider to be able to get to a location, access the issue and fix the problem the first time. A first-time fix is a very important aspect of onsite support and maintenance.

As the remote/distributed workforce model is here to stay, being able to support a disparate workforce is more crucial than ever. Real-time services will enable a solution provider to address a problem immediately, while the proactive side of remote support – AI and analytics – can allow for proactive fixes.

A must have

Hence, remote services are no longer optional but should be a standard offering to customers. They must be built into the services provided to the customer and include 24/7 real-time support. What we have seen with the pandemic is that people work longer and irregular hours, so it is important to have around the clock support and the highest security protocols must be in place.

The right technology partner will provide proactive services and support, as well as a streamlined approach to how calls are logged for support. In other words, can the partner get to you when you need them? It is, therefore, also important to have structured Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and timeframes in place.

The first step should be an assessment of the total workspace, which includes a review of the organisation’s technology environment. This will help to drive down costs and improve efficiency.

It also highlights opportunities to optimise areas in need and will identify constraints that result in wastage. A good technology partner will help to take the customer on a journey, and not just sell them a solution. The right solution provider will be there to partner and grow with a customer.

Barry Venter is the Chief Executive Officer at Nashua.

Sunday World 

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